July 22 was yet another important day for Kosovo’s statehood — the International Court of Justice ruled on the legality of Kosovo’s independence.
Somehow it makes slander lawsuits or suing a restaurant for injuries caused from a slippery floor seem pretty trivial.
Anyway, such events tend to draw many foreign journalists to Kosovo. On this day, I went out for a walk in downtown Prishtina. As I was chatting with a freelance cameraman friend in front of the Grand Hotel, a foreign journalist approached us and furiously asked: “Guys, where is everybody?” Apparently he was disappointed with the weak reaction in the streets of Prishtina to the court’s ruling announced just hours prior that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008 did not violate international law.
For such occasions, it seems that Kosovars already have the stereotype of taking the celebration to the streets — playing drums, dancing some valle and honking car horns.
To be fair, this so-called traditional Kosovar celebration happened on a small scale this time, dominated by diaspora Albanians who most likely missed the original independence festivities.
Most citizens probably are more concerned with everyday quality-of-life. They don’t have the luxury to take the streets after every diplomatic happening. Personally, I would attend a celebration if authorities ever catch any of the guys who are abusing millions of euros in taxpayer money.
Upon returning home amid sporadic car honks, I perused the website of Serbian radio station B92 for public reactions to the news from The Hague. Within a few hours, hundreds of comments were calling for resignation of political leaders but pleading for them to return their focus to everyday concerns after the saga of Kosovo’s independence trial.
The gap between the citizens and political leadership is big. This is more likely to grow bigger as long as “fathers of the state” continue to hide their incompetence arguing that they are preoccupied with big issues. No one could argue that state issues are important, but citizens, be it in Kosovo or Serbia, are getting tired of sacrificing their wellbeing and continue to swallow the bitter taste of lies. Big Papa, start looking after you kidi-zens, please!